Skip to main content
11:00 am
steep slope from the west bank of the big wood river. the patient on the locked ward at saint mary's on june 15, 1961, has just learned that dr. savier's son is in a denver hospital. in idaho, hemingway and fritz and fritz's father liked talking about the yankees and rainbow trout. but none of that will ever be the same again. st. mary's hospital, rochester, minnesota, june 15, 1961. dear fritz, i was terribly sorry to hear this morning and a note from your father that you are laid up in denver for a few days more and speed off this note to tell you how much i hope you'll
11:01 am
be feeling better. it's been very hot and muggy here in rochester, but the last two days it has turned cool and lovely with the knights wonderful for sleeping. that country is beautiful around here and i've had a chance to see some wonderful country along the mississippi where they used to drive the logs in the old lumbering days, and the trails where the pioneers came north. saw some good bass jumping in the river. i never knew anything about the upper mississippi before, and it is really a very beautiful country and there are plenty of dozens and ducks in the fall. but not as many as in idaho and i hope we will both be back there shortly and can joke about our hospital experiences together. best always to you, old timer, from your good friend who misses you very much, mr. papa.
11:02 am
ps, best to all the family. am feeling fine and very cheerful about things in general, and hope to see you all soon. papa. no one knows for sure, but these seem to be the last real senses ernest hemingway sat down on paper. amid so much ruin, still the beauty. thank you very much. [applause] >> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback. twitter.com/booktv. >> author jared diamond is next on booktv. he talks about what we can learn from traditional societies that exist in only a very few places around the world today but he
11:03 am
also reflects on which people lived for the vast majority of the millions of years of human existence. this is just under one hour. >> it's my great privilege to introduce an invite doctor diamond to the stage to tell us all about the world until yesterday. let's give him a wonderful philadelphia well. [applause] >> let me first check whether you will be able to hear me okay in back. can you hear in that? it's a great pleasure to be back in philadelphia today and be back in this wonderful library to talk about subjects other than gall bladders. [laughter] instead, to give you an idea --
11:04 am
to give me an idea, how many this evening may find one about to tell you a practical guide, i'd like to ask you to raise your hands to one or the other of two questions that i will now post. first, but those of you raise your hand who either are over age 65, or hope to live past age 65, or have a parent or grandparent over 65? [laughter] >> many of you, all right. then the second group, let me ask, please raise your hand if you are under 65, have no intention of living past 65, had had no parent or grandparent who live past 65? regime and. all right. ics matter to those of you into this group, you are the ones to whom i think my talk this evening will be of practical value. value. [laughter] those of you in the second group my talk will not be of practical value but i think you'll still find the subject fascinating.
11:05 am
i'm going to talk about growing older in traditional societies. this subject is just one chapter of my latest book which covers traditional small societies with our big modern societies. there are many aspects of societies such as growing old, bringing up children, health, dealing with the danger, settling disputes, war, religion and speaking more than one language. this book is my most personal book. my books of the most practical value to our daily lives, and as a shameless author i hope they can be my best purchase book. it's about what i've learned about spending a lot of my time in traditional tribal societies over the past 50 years. and it's about what friends and other scholars have learned from other tribal societies around the world. all of us here are accustomed to living in big industrial
11:06 am
societies, in permanent housing with governments to make decision, with writing and books and internet. where most people live past age 60, when we regulate and counter strangers just as i am encountering you this evening, and where most of our food is grown by older people, we forget that every one of those things a rosary recently in history. humans have constituted a separate line of biological evolution, about 6 million years. but all of the things i just mentioned didn't exist anywhere in the world 11,000 years ago. they rose only within the last 11,000 years, and some of them such as the internet and the phenomenon most people living past age 60 a rose only within the last century. that is the answer for all of us here, we are living under traditional tribal conditions until virtual yesterday, measured on a 6 million year time scale of human evolution. until europeans thought we spend
11:07 am
around the world 500 years ago, tribal societies still occupied large part of all of the continent. but tribal societies have recently been coming under the control of modest societal state government. to the point where today the last society not yet undertaken control, small areas of new guinea and the amazon basin. those troubles societies which constituted all human societies the most in history, are far more diverse than our our modern big societies. all big societies have governments where most people are strangers to each other, are similar to each other, and different from tribal societies, any basic ways regardless of whether how big societies are america, german, chinese, israeli or whatever. tribes constitute thousands of natural experiments. and how to run a human society.
11:08 am
they constitute experiments in which we ourselves may be able to learn. for example, today if you think the modern american children enjoy too much freedom, or else you think modern american shield children are not given enough freedom you cannot perform the experiment of designating 17 american states were kids have to remain strictly subservient to the parents and grandparents. 17 other states will be given the freedom to make their decisions to play, to play with -- and 16 other states their children continue to be treated as they are treated today. if we could only carry out that controlled experiment we did come back in 40 years, compare the children from all those states and quickly settled the question, whether it's better to raise kids with more freedom, less freedom, or the same freedom that we enjoy today. unfortunately, it's impossible to carry out that size
11:09 am
experiment in the u.s., but there are thousands of traditional societies in which children already did grow up with even much more freedom are much less freedom than in the modern u.s. by examining what actually does or did happen in traditional societies that are much more varied than modern american society, we need able to learn things of practical value to us in deciding how to raise our kids, how to treat our older people, how to remain healthy and other things that we care a lot about. tribal society should be scorned as primitive and ms. well, but also they shouldn't be idealized as happy and peaceful. when we learn of travel practices, some of them will horrify us but their other tribal factors of which when we hear about them, we may admire and envy them and wonder whether we could adopt those practices ourselves. to get some perspective on how we treat elderly people in
11:10 am
western modern societies, let me tell you the opinion of a friend of mine from the fiji islands in the pacific who had this idea of the united states. it with some things my friend at my buddy was, other things he disliked about the u.s., talked about what he most loathed about the u.s. was our treatment of older people. he almost shouted, you americans throw away your older people, those were his words. by that he meant that most old people in the u.s. end up living separately from their children, and separately for most of their friends of the earlier years come and all that live in separate retirement homes for the elderly. in fiji and other traditional societies, older people instead live out their lives among their children. their other relatives and their lifelong friends. nevertheless, the treatment of the elderly varies enormously amongst traditional societies
11:11 am
from much worse to much better than in our modern society. at the worst extreme many traditional societies get rid of the elderly in increasingly direct ways. the most indirect effort to get rid of the elderly is just to neglect them and not feed them or clean them until they die. the second method is to abandon them when the group moves on. the third method is to encourage older people to commit suicide. the fourth more direct method is to kill older people with their own cooperation. for example, among the people of papua new guinea, a widow whose husband has just died asks her brothers or sons to, strangle her. the fifth message to get rid of the elderly is to kill them without their consent or cooperation. in what troubles societies to children abandoned or kill their parents? it happens mainly under two
11:12 am
conditions. one is in nomadic hunter gather societies that often shifts hands end up physically incapable of transporting old people who can't walk when able-bodied younger people already have to carry the young children and their physical possessions. the of the condition for getting rid of older people is in societies living in marginal or deteriorating and progress. such as deserts where there are periodic food shortages, and occasionally there just isn't enough food to keep everyone alive. whatever food is available, has to be reserved for able-bodied people, still capable of contributing to the tribe, and for the children who will grow up to be the tribes future adults. can you still hear okay? okay. to us moderate americans, it sounds horrible to think of abandoning or killing your own
11:13 am
sick spouse or your own elderly parent. but what else do those bodies do? it's a cruel choice. old people have to do it with her own parents and old people know what now is going to happen to them. for any of you who nevertheless still inclined to blame those tribal societies for abandoning or killing their elderly, let me quote the words of winston churchill about behavior of the japanese admiral at the battle in october 1944 when the admiral had to choose between two equally horrible options. winston churchill said, those of you who have endured a similar ordeal may judge you. in fact, many of you, many of us here have already faced or will face an ordeal similar to the ordeal faced by those nomadic or desert travel societies when you are the position or the relative
11:14 am
responsible for the medical care of and old person. and when you're the one who has to decide whether and when to halt further medical intervention and went just to administer painkillers and sedatives, or a sick spouse. >> at the opposite extreme, a happy extreme, our new guinea foreign societies where i eventually my fieldwork for the past 50 years. and the society of my friends and many other sedentary traditional societies around the world. in those societies, older people are cared for. they are fed. they remain valuable, and they continue to live in the same hud or else in a nearby hut mr. chote, the relatives, their lifelong friends. in traditional new guinea society whether or not a dentist, and for older people gradually lose their teeth and can no longer choose their own food, their adult children chew
11:15 am
the food until it's soft, spent the food into a cup and give that soft prechewed food to the toothless old person to eat. i don't know if any modern western society in which such devoted care of old parents is done. there are two main sets of reasons for this variation among societies in the treatment of all people. variations especially on the usefulness of old people and on the society's values. first as regards usefulness, older people continue to form useful services in traditional societies, and also in our modern society. one use of older people in traditional societal is their skill for find the. for example, among the hundred and thirds of tanzania, grandmothers are the most productive women of finding and digging up wild edible roots.
11:16 am
grandmothers have much more experience than younger women of finding roots, and the often cited of strength to dig them up. measurements showed the growth rate to have a grandchild increases with the amount of time the grandmother spends scourging to get food. while older hunter gathering men, they no longer have the strength needed to steer a lion. the men may still be useful in their old ages, following animal tracks and of capturing slow or small prey. a lifetime expense of old and in means they know much more than a younger man about the habits of each specie of prey and will come and about how best to hunt that animal. that value of the experience of older people in traditional societies has also been confirmed to modern farming societies. among 19th century canadian farmers and 19th century farmers can each decade where
11:17 am
the grandmother survived past age 50 is correlate with two extra grandchildren of that grandmother eventually surviving. because of the grandmother's contribution to resources while still alive. another traditional use of all people consist of babysitting the grandchildren. thereby freeing up their own adult children, parents of those grandchildren, to go hunting and gathering food for the grandchildren. still another traditional ballad of older people is in making tools, weapons, pots and textiles is that older people are usually the people who are best at those things. older people usually are the leaders of traditional societies, and the people most knowledgeable about medicine, religion, politics, and dances. to some extent that still true today. average age of american president, not assuming the
11:18 am
president is 54 years old. finally older people in traditional societies have one more huge significance that we never occur to us in our modern letter said mind. where our source of information our books and internet. in contrast, in traditional societies without writing of older people are the repository of information. their knowledge spells the difference between survival and death to the whole society in a time of crisis caused by dreary events in which the old people have had experience. for example, in 1976 i visited a remote polynesian island in the pacific ocean in order to do an environmental impact study for proposed mining project. as part of my study i asked the islanders to come in the name of each species of tree and the polynesian language and tell me
11:19 am
each species whether fruit or seed was edible. the islanders began to edge. this trees fruit is eaten by people. that trees fruit is eaten by bats and not by people. this trees fruit is eaten by birds, not bats or people. but that fruit isn't edible to people or any animal insulin. then the islanders came to trade which they said, people ate this trees fruit only after -- i didn't know what that is, but i let the islanders keep talking about eaten by people or birds or bats and then he came to another, just eaten by people after -- and then several more fruits eaten only after -- i was now really curious so i asked them, well so, what is that? why are there some food you eat only after that? to anthony, the islanders took me inside which a woman was
11:20 am
sitting around 80, blind and unable to walk. the islanders explain to me that when that woman, that old woman was only a teenager, the island had been hit by an enormous cyclone which they called -- and which destroyed all the gardens and much of the force on the island. that left people at risk of starting. so they survived eating certain species of wild fruits that a norman would eat, but that old people alive at the time of the cyclone remembered having eaten at the time of the previous cyclone. from historical records, i calculated that it had hit reynold island around the 1910 when the old woman t divorced wn he was just a teenager. she was the oldest person still alive on the island at the time of my visit. it's another big cyclone should hit the island now, and they can
11:21 am
destroy the gardens and much of the forest, the only thing that would save the population of the island from starving to death would be the memories of that one old woman, the sole personal life remembered what fruits that were normally considered inedible and for safety when nothing else was available. her knowledge which is what would keep her fellow islanders alive until the gardens began producing again. in the u.s. though we don't rely on oral memory. instead look at the answers in the book or we could with it. more than any instance in all my years working on the island, that story of that old blind woman in a hut on the island made me appreciate the overwhelming importance of the knowledge of older people throughout history. before -- and nonliterary traditional society where the knowledge of older people spelled the difference between
11:22 am
life and death to their entire society. those than of the ways in which older people are useful in traditional societies. but their usefulness varies, and contributes to various treatments of the elderly. the other set of reasons for variation of people of the elderly is that society's cultural values which varies somewhat independently of the usefulness of the elderly. for example, among large societies that have centralized governments, for thousands of years, there's a particular emphasis on respect for the elderly in east asia associate with the philosophy of confucius and with his doctrine of -- it means o.b. genes, respect and support for elderly parents. cultural values that emphasize respect for older people
11:23 am
contrast with the status of the elderly in the united states. older americans are at a disadvantage in getting jobs. for example, sociologist at boston university carried out the experiment of submitting dozens of job applications in response to ads by prospective employers. all of the applications gave fictitious names of women and all of the applications were identical except that half the applications gave the woman applicants age as 25-40, while the other half of the applications gave her age as 45-60. the result of the spirit was that employers were twice as likely to call a woman age 25-40 for a job interview for a woman age 45-60. another example of low status of the elderly in the u.s. is an explicit policy in our hospitals called age-based allocation of health care resource. listen to those words.
11:24 am
age-based allocation of health care resources. that expression is a euphemism here it means that hospital reserves are limited, example it is only certain certain number of hospital beds available, or only one donor comes available to transplant, or if a surgeon has timed operate only on a certain number of patients, a technical glitch. [inaudible] >> some of you may have seen a james bond movie of about 15 years ago in which the evil head of a media network has the lights turned out in the whole building by james bond and the evil head says short technical
11:25 am
interruption. all right, i'm not an evil jihad but we've had a short technical interruption. so, i was just talking about age-based allocation resource. american hospitals have an explicit policy of giving preference to younger patients over older patients on the grounds invitations are more valuable to society, supposedly because they have more years of life ahead of them. even though the younger patients have fewer years of valuable life experience. there are several reasons for this low status of the elderly in the united states. the high status of the elderly in east asia is based on the asian emphasis on heel photography. the low status arises from several american values that replace. one is our work ethic which places high value on work for older people who are no longer
11:26 am
working are respected. another reason is our american emphasis on the virtues of self-reliance and independence. so we instinctively scorned older people are no longer self-reliant. still a third reason is our american youth, a shows up in our advertising, ads local mp. they always depict smiling young people, even the old people as those young people buy and drink coca-cola and beer. just after so from which the last time you saw a coke or beer ad depicting smiley people 75 or 80? never. the only american ads featuring white older people are ads for retirement homes, ads for financial planning. well, what has changed today? compared to their status and traditional society.
11:27 am
there have been few changes for the better and more changes for the worse. big changes for the better include the fact that they enjoy much longer lives, much better health, and much better recreational opportunities. all -- also, older people have rarely had to suffer the grief of death of their own children were in traditional societies parents were to have to grieve over the death of many or most of their children. another change for the better in the lives of older people is we now have specialized retirement facilities and programs to take care of older people. changes for the worst, begin with the cruel reality that we now have far more old people and fewer young people than at anytime in the past. that means that all those old people are more of a burden on young people, and it keeps old person has less individual
11:28 am
valley. on the item i visited in 1976, there was only that one old woman still alive who remembered how to survive after the cyclone of 1910. if there's been hundreds of survivors of the 1910 cyclone, still alive in 1976, any single one of those hundreds of survivors would not have been individually diagnosed. another change for the worse is the breaking of social ties because older people, their children and their friends, move and scattered independently of each other, many times during their lives. the average american does every five years. and so our older people are very likely to end up living a distance from their children and living distance from friends of their youth. yet another change for the worse for the status of the elderly is formal retirement from the workforce, carrying with it a loss of work of friendship and the loss of the self-esteem associated with work.
11:29 am
perhaps the biggest of all the changes of the work and the status of our elderly or is there less useful than in traditional societies. widespread illiteracy means they are no longer useful as the repository of knowledge. when we want information we look it up in the book or we googled it instead of buying some old person to ask. state-mandated systems of formal education means that children are taught a particular hours on particular days, our particularly young time -- rather than the older adults of everyday life. finally, the slow pace of technological change in traditional society means that when someone learns there as a child is so useful when the person is old. but the rapid pace of technological change today means that what we learn as children is to longer useful 50 years
11:30 am
later. and we older people are not fluent in the technologies center to surviving in modern society. for example, as a 15 year old high school student, i was considered outstandingly good at multiplying a two digit numbers because i memorize the multiplication table and i know how to use logarithm and then click of manipulating slide rule. ..
11:31 am
to watch television i have to telephone the 25-year-old son and asking to me through it while i try to push those wretched 41 buttons. [laughter] what can we do to improve the lives of the elderly in the u.s. and the other use of their value? that's a huge problem. in our remaining few minutes today, i can offer just a few suggestions. one value as they are increasingly useful for offering quality child care if they choose to do it as more and more younger women into the workforce if you were young parent stay home a full-time caretakers of their children. compared to the usual alternatives have paid babysitters and day care centers
11:32 am
, grandparents offers superior, motivated, experienced childcare. they verity can experience from racing around kids. usually they let their grandchildren under eager to be permitted to spend time with their grandchildren unlike other caregivers, grandparents to quit their babysitting job because they found another job with higher pay for social security and medicare benefits. but there's also a downside to graham. the visitors. with the increasing age of each couples have babies today, the couple's parents.com grandparents until they are in the 70s and 80s when they may no longer have the necessary stamina to babysit grandchildren. a second value of people today is paradoxically related to the loss of value as a result of changing road conditions and technology. at the same time older people
11:33 am
have been of value today precisely because of their unique experience of conditions that have now become rarer because of rapid change but the combat. for example, only people in their 70s or older can remember the experience of living through great depression. the experience of living through world war. the experience of living through food or gas rationing and whether or not dropping atomic bombs would be more horrible than the likely consequences of not dropping atomic bombs. most of our current voters and leaders have no personal experience, but millions of older americans do. unfortunately, all of those situations could come back. if they don't come back, we have to plan for them on the basis of the experience of what they were like. older politicians and voters have that experience.
11:34 am
younger people coming after politicians don't have that experience. the remaining values that are mentioned above struck as the many things that older people could no longer do, other things they can do much better than younger people. a challenge for society is to make use of those things old people are better at doing. some of course decrease with age ability to tasks requiring physical strength and stamina, ambition and the power of novel reasoning and narrowly circumscribed situations such as the structure of dna best left to scientists under the age of 30. conversely, viable asset to increase our experience, understanding people in human relationships, ability to help other people without you rico didn't read your advice and interdisciplinary thinking of
11:35 am
large databases such as geography and comparative history best left to scholars over the age of 60 or 75. older people are better than younger people as supervising, administrating, advising, strategizing, teaching and synthesizing. icing values of older people with so many of my friends in 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s who were still at davis for us, lawyers and surgeons. and sure, many societies make that her use of their elderly can give their elderly more satisfying lives than we do in modern societies. paradoxically when we have more elderly people than before living healthier lives and better medical care than ever before, all beaches in many respects more miserable than ever before.
11:36 am
the lives of the elderly and widely considered as constituting a disaster area of modern society. we can surely do better by learning from lives of the elderly in traditional society. what's true of the life of the elderly mr. of many features of traditional society as well. of course i'm not advocating what about agriculture, return to hunting and gathering, live in small tribes. as many obvious respects in which our lives today are far happier than those of small traditional societies to venture a few examples, our legs are longer, materially richer and less plagued by violence in traditional societies. but there's also things admired about people in traditional society to be learned from them. their lives are usually socially
11:37 am
much richer than our legs although materially poorer. their children are usually more self-confident, more independent and more and lives of our children. they essentially never die of dvds, heart disease, stroke and other non-communicable diseases that cause of the death of most of us here in the room today and that's not just because they don't live long enough to get diabetes and other diseases, even when you make comparisons at the same age, people living traditional lifestyles are less likely to get a heart disease and other non-communicable diseases of americans of the same age. teachers predispose us to does for teachers of traditional lifestyle protect us against those diseases.
11:38 am
other chapters in my book do with other aspects of society besides old age. every chapter on dispute resolution, which in traditional societies means emotional composure, reconciliation her senate deal involved in the civil war case in the united states come in the involved know a divorcing couple or brother or sister who'd been involved in a dispute of a lasting they care about his emotional reconciliation and the government cares about right and wrong and people on that miserable as a result. warfare is chronic in traditional society involves killing not just young soldier each man, the women and children others reasons for it. child rearing is quite different
11:39 am
in that pervades big surprises that contribute to the fact children in traditional societies are more independent, self-assured and capable of making decisions, socially. children are carried vertical, i pray facing forward, not vertically facing backward and not fx development. in traditional society's parents respond quickly within 10 seconds to a nothing crying and none of this nonsense of the abb creates about. every adult is a model and that means more social role models for children to learn from the just. dangerous player differently. people in traditional societies are much more attentive than we
11:40 am
put the risk of events in which each time kerry of the risk of getting hurt, but you repeat that many times in your lifetime. people in traditional societies such changers realistically. the most interesting activist to did was to take a shower. what's so dangerous about that? a chance of slipping a lesson 11,000. read the obituary column of the newspaper industry, and cause the deaths were crippling for old people and slipping in the shower is 100,000. i intend to take a shower everyday for the next 15 years of my life than 5,470,000 showers and if my risk of slipping is one of 1000 aga killed five times before i live out my next 15 years.
11:41 am
that lets one imagine what will be the future of religion in the next century. old to enlist in the united states often feared its routine in traditional society and one surprising discovery of the last five years is the protection we now know it against symptoms of alzheimer's disease does not read you that is bilingual and gives you five years protection against alzheimer's disease. we don't know whether the multilingual is multiplied by the number. those are examples of traditional society. i hope you find it fascinating to read about traditional
11:42 am
societies as i found it to lebanon. thank you. [applause] speenine thank you very much, dr. diamond. but despite what what it questions. raise your hand out calling you and get a microphone to you. without you start us off? palladian orange on the aisle there. >> first of all, thank you. i was really fascinating. have a question though. your book seems to type about the different activities, some which are beneficial to learn and from the fire. i was wondering if you had a role for something for deciding which thinks we should imitate.
11:43 am
he might fair enough. it is true or not saying we should imitate everything in traditional society. some of the things we should not imitate our obvious. should not imitate strangling her parents. we should not imitate starving to death. we should not imitate killing of babies. things we should imitate are anything likely to result in children being more self-confident and socially skilled. we should imitate anything of never getting diabetes, heart disease or stroke. we should imitate anything that makes us attentive to the realistic dangers rather than plane crashes. but you're correct there is a
11:44 am
middle ground where it's not so clear. for example, in traditional society pete will never spank their children and yet there's a debate in american society in european society whether you should think your kids. in sweden it is a criminal act. in germany it was considered noncriminal, but that just illustrates things where we have to figure out or whether you're going to take your infant to bed with you. every baby in human history sub in the what their parents until the last five or 10,000 years. some things are good, some bad, some we have to figure out.
11:45 am
>> read here in the corner. >> i was intrigued by your talking about the freedom children have. what's better is either to have more freedom were less then. >> that's a really good question to follow up on because how much freedom should habibi have? and you can society, a notice on the highlanders had scars and so i thought it got burned, but most of them gotten burned as intense because children are considered independent people capable of making our decisions, those who can do to the baby who can decide whether or not we're onto the fire or not. a visa or not, but few americans
11:46 am
would argue a baby should have the freedom to go onto a fire. among societies, daily skip her minute to play knives. my wife and i did not let her kids play with sharp knives, but lots of other things children are allowed to do in traditional societies to which go entirely against micromanaging our children. so your question is that the previous question of some things we certainly should permit children to do. other things other traditional societies do but make you uncomfortable. >> has come against the law on our left. >> evening talking about how traditional societies impact as spare but about the other direction, a place that new guinea where these people are merging very badly from
11:47 am
traditional society and many people have a difficult time. kenny make suggestions about what would work better? >> the flip side of the significance of the traditional society for us is what is the impact of the modern world having on traditional society and every traditional society that i know was what the outside world and let the outside world wants to acquire some of that. traditional people when they see steve axon said as to they whine fire drills. the closing of manufactured clothing. they want umbrellas, medicine, educational opportunities. throughout the world, traditional societies acquire
11:48 am
things from modern calcite society. with this acquisition is selective. import thing is society should be free to make their own choice rather than dragged into the modern world against their will notably by being exterminated, driven a land, concord, dispossessed. >> i have a huge grease. one thing i noted when i lived in hawaii for 20 years is that many grandparents who are raising their children, their children's children, their grandchildren and my mother was 42 when she had us, which was almost an impossibility and fashionable age. i noted the same two things that
11:49 am
the older the parent wise in many -- the grim parentless in many instances, the children wound up almost losing a generation of perspective alternatives because of their grandparents. they grew up more racist frankly. they grew up more superstitious and they grew up with an ethos that didn't necessarily suit them for the generation they're entering. that's the one caution i have what i look at which you're suggesting. >> sure, fair enough. all you parents of young children have got to figure out, how much caregiving do you want to turn over to your parents, grandparents of the children?
11:50 am
in many cases among my friends, many are utterly thrilled to have their children looked after by their grandparents and others say no way for my kids would get looked after by grandparents. i'm not making a universal recommendation. i merely say nowadays grand parents if they want to do it are more valuable in the past because of demographic changes. >> question the front row. could you leave for the night? >> just as a follow up on that, when you are comparing roles, being a grandparent at a much younger age and many traditional societies they knew it had become a grandmother. in your studies, how did you
11:51 am
compensate for age-related roles? >> acknowledged that in my lecture and i mention the caveat that a downside is an upside to increased or grandparenting today with more and more childbearing age people in the workforce, but the downside is exact as you say, people becoming grandparent under 35, 40, 45 as they used to, but i'm 75 and i'm not a grandparent, which means when i finally hopefully become a grandparent and gwen have less energy than when i was 40 years old. it is something one has to be aware of. >> i heard some turn back which suggests that human brain development was encouraged
11:52 am
long-ago when grandmothers took over care of the children said the mother could do other foraging activities back in the foraging days. i'm thinking about that versus changes now with a grandmother isn't necessarily part of the picture. >> grandparents, grandmothers taking responsibility for k. while the parents of the kid go porridge. that is widespread. it's also the case that i mentioned and i would say is the case in most, all hunter gatherer societies to observe grandparents whosoever capable of doing it, take responsibility in looking after the children come in looking after the grandchildren, thereby freeing up their own children to go
11:53 am
hunting and gathering. not just taiwan. [inaudible] >> general thing for brain development -- [inaudible] -- educational possibilities passed on by grandparents that parents don't do as much as grandparent do. >> most grandparents are 30, 40 years behind information to pass onto their grandchildren. >> the gentleman behind you in the blue. >> you touched briefly on differences in warfare between traditional and modern society. could you say more about that, please click >> traditional and modern
11:54 am
societies comes as a big surprise to people hear about them. often idealized sp so, but lots of studies of traditional tribal societies and the cruel reality is the percentage of traditional people who die violent deaths is higher than almost any stay society for which we have information. if you want to compare the worst of the worst, germany, russia and poland, the chance of war or violent deaths are several times slower than most traditional societies that it's not that they're more vicious. it's more intermittent affair because the government declares war and the saudi government declares peace, hotheaded young
11:55 am
men who want to start a war or restrained from starting, whereas traditional societies is a government that restrains potheads from going back to work. traditional societies are costly and the numbers show chances of dying a violent death in traditional societies that contains the chance is to mobile society. >> jemma mintier right there. >> we just see in our own country in recent months just to much pure evil if you will. could you imagine any traditional society en masse killing of children?
11:56 am
the virtues of the traditional society prevent that. >> not only can i imagine that, sadly it's common. sadly it is common to killings of children and friends of mine said of course we will kill the women and of course will kill the children because they would give birth to worsen the children will grow up into worriers. it unfortunately is true. >> is there ever the indiscriminate killing the way they're easier, where we're not worried about worriers. there's an act of insanity, since someone has an opportunity and they take it for whatever reason. if they've been wanting violence clicks it seems to be more prevalent in the culture. >> if you read chapter three of my book, which relates to a
11:57 am
whole series of war. it's an unhappy subject. read chapter three, but the reality is people don't like to hear about this and many scholars didn't want to believe the societies they love. the governments can do things. governments can declare war and make peace without students. >> children across the aisle. >> culturally you've seen some societies value older people more. i was just wondering if they do things more economically efficiently and incentivize that behavior to certain level. i mean, are they better at taking care of their elderly that we are? >> is a better than taking two of the elderly that we are?
11:58 am
it depends what you mean by better. our society could give medical care to the elderly. our societies by and large failed at providing a socially satisfying life to the elderly because the reality with americans living every five years, it's difficult to reconstruct a lifelong social circle formal person. when traditional societies, people spend their lives where they grew up, so you spend her last year surrounded by your children and friends, nothing special is required. >> we have a lot of questions, but not a lot of time.
11:59 am
>> i wonder if you can say anything about the relationship of each society has with her own environment in terms of the sustainability of rejection for survival that they have. >> the relationship in terms of sustainability and survival. there is variation. traditional societies have exterminated resources important than. the reason when you step outside this building are not going to see on the street an elephant or lion or any animals that used to be involved in america for 10,000 years ago is very likely because of the overhunting of large animals of south america by human columnists. this may be a

tv
Book TV
CSPAN February 17, 2013 11:00am-12:00pm EST

Jared Diamond Education. (2013) 'The World Until Yesterday What Can We Learn From Traditional Societies?'

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 12, U.s. 8, United States 4, Fritz 3, America 2, The Islanders 2, Papa 2, Rochester 2, Philadelphia 2, Idaho 2, Germany 2, Smiley 1, Verity 1, Graham 1, Yankees 1, Island 1, Davis 1, Kenny 1, Dr. Savier 1, Hemingway 1
Network CSPAN
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 17 (141 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480


disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 2/17/2013
Views
73